She Told Me

She perched on my knee
no more than 7 or 8,
her large eyes fixed ahead
as she began to narrate.
She journeyed to her future
as I dwelled on her past,
and when our paths crossed I realised
time moves way too fast.

She told me of the beatings
that didn’t leave her black and blue,
the deep shade of her pigmentation
meant that no one ever knew.

She told me of her lack of armour
against the branches and the belt,
each session a heavy onslaught
like she’d never ever felt.

She told me of raised voices
thrown flat on her face,
and the dreams she once had
that she decided not to chase.

She told me of all her wrongs
that blotted the light from her rights,
and the battles she gave up fighting
because she could never win the fight.

She told me of the threats
to leave her somewhere cold at night,
and the times she almost called ChildLine
but dropped the phone due to fright.

She told me of being lonely
wondering if she was ever really loved,
I lifted her chin and said, “Darling,
we’re both members of the same club.”

© LaYinka Sanni, May 2013.

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